Xyratex Doubles Storage Throughput in Latest Lustre Offering

By Robert Gelber

June 14, 2012

Today storage maker Xyratex introduced ClusterStor 6000, a Lustre-based storage platform which doubles the throughput of the company’s first generation product. HPCWire spoke with Eric Lomascolo, director of solutions marketing and Mike Stolz, VP of marketing at Xyratex to get the particulars about the new system.

At last year’s International Supercomputing Conference, Xyratex introduced the ClusterStor 3000, a highly scalable storage system and aimed squarely at the Lustre-friendly HPC market. At its core, ClusterStor was designed to provide higher density and throughput per square foot compared to traditional storage offerings. The technology was acquired in 2010 when Xyratex bought ClusterStor, which at the time was an independent storage maker specializing in Lustre-based systems.

Using an appliance approach, the hardware, operating system, file system and management software reside under one roof. The system is brought together in Scalable Storage Unit (SSU) building blocks. “Everything is embedded in the scalable storage unit in terms of the object storage server for Lustre,” explained Lomascolo.

Each storage unit is 5RU and contains 84 3.5” drives. 80 drives provide storage with two global hot spares and a pair of 100GB SSDs. Two embedded server modules enable data throughput. The SSUs are currently offered with 3TB SAS drives, amounting to 252TB of raw storage with 192TB usable. In the not-too-distant future, SSUs based on 4TB drives will ship, and they will support 250TB of usable storage from 336TB of raw capacity.

The use of the higher reliability SAS drives (versus the less expensive SATA hardware) gives the platform a more enterprise-like profile than the typical storage solution in the HPC space. “Xyratex is rooted in reliability, so we felt that having dual port and a reliable drive factor was going to be a key in this system,” said Stolz. “By using SAS-based technology in terms of the disk drives, we get that extra enterprise quality associated with that.”

Lomascolo expanded on that, noting the extensive QA processes carried out on each unit before it’s shipped. Prior to SSU installation, all disks undergo accelerated life testing. After the units are put together, they go through multi-week load testing.  “At the end of the day, DOAs on large installations can have a great impact on how quickly they can get up and running,” he explained.

Initial deployment of the ClusterStor system starts with a Cluster Management Unit, which contains the Lustre metadata server. It is seen as the building block, which enables storage and throughput scalability. Once the management unit is setup, additional SSUs can increase capacity and performance. A base, single-rack system contains the management unit and seven SSUs.

The main difference between the 3000 and 6000 is the SSU internals. The 6000 platform still uses the same drive chassis as the 3000 series, but their modules have been upgraded with faster compute, more memory, FDR InfiniBand and an updated application framework.  The result is that each SSU has twice the throughput (6GB/second) of its 3000 series sibling.

File system performance also scales relative to the quantity of SSUs deployed. This is the primary advantage of the 6000 series. HPC users that required 360GB/second of throughput would have to install 120 ClusterStor 3000 SSUs, taking up roughly 17 racks of floor space. With the 6000 series, that same throughput can be achieved in half the footprint with 60 SSUs. Xyratex says a 6000 setup can deliver up to 1TB/second of throughput, requiring 165 to 170 SSUs.            

The ClusterStor 3000 series will remain in production and support the same storage capacities as 6000 series SSUs. This gives users the option to prioritize their investment towards storage capacity or throughput. Furthermore, current 3000 series SSUs can be updated with 6000 series server modules, enabling upgrades without disrupting chassis and storage configurations. 

“[Customers] can move up to FDR InfiniBand and 40GbE, moving from 2.5 to 3GB/second up to 6 GB/second per SSU. All of the investment in the chassis and the storage remains,” said Lomascolo

At the moment, Xyratex’ only OEM partner for ClusterStor is Cray, who sells it under its Sonexion-branded storage line. But according to Lomascolo, more OEM partnerships are in the works.

One notable sale of the platform is at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), where a ClusterStor 3000 system is currently providing storage for the Blue Waters supercomputer. The build out is not complete, but as of early March, the Sonexion-branded system was providing two petabytes of storage for the not-yet-finished supercomputer.

There’s a lot more to come. NCSA’s spec sheet for Blue Waters calls for more than 25 petabytes of storage, with throughput surpassing the 1TB/second mark. Given the ClusterStor 6000 series’ performance, the center may opt for the upgraded server modules. 

Pricing for the systems are ultimately left up to the OEMs, which for now is Cray, but Xyratex said ballpark configurations for a base ClusterStor 6000 system rack is approximately $300,000. Base ClusterStor 3000 systems are approximately $250,000. This includes a single rack with a cluster management unit, seven scalable storage units and an InfiniBand switch.

Systems will be available to ship in the third quarter of 2012.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

IBM Launches Commercial Quantum Network with Samsung, ORNL

December 14, 2017

In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Samsung and a number of other corporations to its IBM Q Net Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Researchers Test AI Traffic Monitoring Tool in Austin

December 13, 2017

Traffic jams and mishaps are often painful and sometimes dangerous facts of life. At this week’s IEEE International Conference on Big Data being held in Boston, researchers from TACC and colleagues will present a new Read more…

By HPCwire Staff

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in what has become an overwhelmingly two-socket landscape in the d Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Explore the Origins of Space with COSMOS and Memory-Driven Computing

From the formation of black holes to the origins of space, data is the key to unlocking the secrets of the early universe. Read more…

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as several tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercialization of quantum. This week, Microsoft took the next step in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Launches Commercial Quantum Network with Samsung, ORNL

December 14, 2017

In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in wha Read more…

By John Russell

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as several tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercializ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Iron, Soft, Data, People – It Takes an Ecosystem!

December 11, 2017

Cutting edge advanced computing hardware (aka big iron) does not stand by itself. These computers are the pinnacle of a myriad of technologies that must be care Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft Spins Cycle Computing into Core Azure Product

December 5, 2017

Last August, cloud giant Microsoft acquired HPC cloud orchestration pioneer Cycle Computing. Since then the focus has been on integrating Cycle’s organization Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE In-Memory Platform Comes to COSMOS

November 30, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is on a mission to accelerate space research. In August, it sent the first commercial-off-the-shelf HPC system into space for testing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Tensors Come of Age: Why the AI Revolution Will Help HPC

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago, parallel computing was coming of age. A bitter battle began between stalwart vector computing supporters and advocates of various approaches to parallel computing. IBM skeptic Alan Karp, reacting to announcements of nCUBE’s 1024-microprocessor system and Thinking Machines’ 65,536-element array, made a public $100 wager that no one could get a parallel speedup of over 200 on real HPC workloads. Read more…

By John Gustafson & Lenore Mullin

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This